Monthly Archives: September 2013

Just Another BRIC in the Wall

The key macroeconomic indicators for India are in the tank, growth has dropped below 5%, the rupee is falling, the infrastructure is crumbling and the inflation is soaring. Be that as it may, I don’t buy all the doom and gloom and concern trolling about India just as I did not buy the hype about shining India, poised to become one of the world’s leading economies.

Don’t get me wrong, India’s structural* problems are immense, there is a huge off-the books economy, the tax base is meager, the infrastructure is inadequate and the politics is dysfunctional. However, all these factors were present during the years when India was supposed to be booming. However, they were either ignored or downplayed by the media because it didn’t fit into the narrative of India as a dominant new economic power. India’s prosperity during the last decade was not broad based and only a tiny sliver of Indians who had access to capital or good education or both, benefitted from the booming economy. If you look at GDP/capita, a crude measure of how well an average person in India is doing, India does not even finish in the top 100.  Blaming the programs for the needy for the current downturn is the height of cynicism, since India has no safety net to speak of and millions go hungry as a matter of course. 

Though India is getting the front page treatment, the news from other BRIC countries is no different. This latest downturn seems to be more due to international capital flows than something unique to India. Also, the much touted advantages of India, a vast middle class, engaged civil society, remain. More likely than not this a temporary blip. India has huge problems that it needs to tackle but I don’t think they are responsible for India’s latest economic crisis.

(*economic speak for long term problems as opposed to short term or cyclical problems related to demand and supply)

Fifth Anniversary of the Financial Crisis

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman brothers.  The banks and Wall Street investment houses have recovered quite nicely but the rest of the economy is still limping along.   Finance is the life blood of the economy,  it ensures that capital flows where it is needed, unfortunately in recent times finance has become an end in itself.  Like a cancer, it has grown unchecked and has overshadowed  the rest of the economy.  This has created an economy where the the 1% who have tremendous reserves of capital thrive, while the rest of us teeter on the  threshold of perpetual financial instability.

The collapse of Lehman and the ensuing crisis, gave us an opportunity to send the cancer into remission but political will to do so was clearly absent.  So instead of ruthlessly irradiating the underlying cancer we stabilized the economy by huge infusions of tax-payer funds to the very banks and investment houses that caused the problem in the first place.   We have not dealt with the underlying problem and it is going to come back and haunt us. It is not a question of if but when.

I have blogged about the steps to  avoid the next financial crisis earlier here.  Also,  here is a list of some of the issues around the financial crisis that I am interested in and will be writing about.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Bye

No More Summers

LoL by: two_kittehs

Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Fed Chair, I am doing a happy dance.  Guess I won’t have to turn in my Obot card after all.  I blogged about Summers earlier this summer, here and here.  I am so glad that we won’t be at the receiving end of his brilliance any more.

ETA:  The stock market agrees and does a happy dance as well.

Friedman’s Latest

From the last paragraph of Friedman’s column in today’s New York Times.

When everything and everyone becomes connected, and complexity is free and innovation is both dirt-cheap and can come from anywhere, the world of work changes. 

 

What does this even mean?

 

Moron to English

LoL by: two_kittehs

Always Sunny in the Rich Man’s World

The top 1% of the population is doing very well indeed, as well or better than they were before the Great Recession of 2008-09. Their share of the nation’s income was more than 20% in 2012. Welcome to the new gilded age.

 

10economix-sub-wealth-blog480

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 10 Finale

I called it right , both Amy and Fik-Shun won! Fox renewed SYTYCD for another season, so they will be back and I will be watching. I give the other dance based related reality show,  Dancing with the Stars, a wide berth. I would however be quite happy to watch the kitteh version.

 

Dancing With the Stars

LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: Maizi Ard)

On the Mohawk Trail

I didn’t quite attain Purrvana, but came pretty close during my three day camping trip at the Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont, MA.  My only prior experience camping was with a big group,  in a house on a deserted island off the coast of Maine. This was the first time I had to plan all the logistics,  a daunting task for a novice camper who likes the luxuries of civilization and has a tiny car.  Many frantic calls were made to a friend who is a veteran of many camping trips.  Mind you, this was camping for dummies, since we were going to be in a cabin with a proper bed, electricity and some basic furniture.  As is my wont, I packed everything including the kitchen sink, by that I mean my Dutch oven, which I was going to use as a makeshift sink.  I also took my trusty little electric kettle, since I run on tea.  Mr. Schrodinger’s cat  on the other hand is a man of few needs and a limited wardrobe, so his contribution to the luggage was minimal. He also loves doing outdoorsy stuff.  He has climbed both Kalsubai and Mt Katahdin.   My attitude on the other hand is exemplified by the kitteh in the picture below.

After loading up the boot and the backseat of the car and saying a final good bye to kittehs,  Mr. Schroedinger’s cat and I set on a drive to Charlemont but not before a quick stop to the grocery store for some ice, raw materials to make s’mores and gas.

When we finally hit I-91, we were caught in a  massive downpour,  a harbinger of things to come ? (To be continued)

I prefers to watch it on TV instead

nature_is_touching_me

LoL by: two_kittehs

Caturday Kittehs from Brooklyn

Behold the Power of the Cute

subway_kittens (2)

LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: Gabriella Bass)

Arthur and August, the two kittens in this photo brought the subway traffic in Brooklyn to a standstill last week.  They have since been rescued and are being fostered by Steven Liu and will be up for adoption soon. They even have a blog.   From the intertoobz to subway tracks, it is a kitteh’s world and we are just living in it.  I for one welcome my kitteh overlords.

Kitteh Thinks She can Dance

image

LoL by: two_kittehs

I love to dance,  it makes me happy.  I forget my worries  when I am dancing.   So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) has been my guilty pleasure this summer.   I admire the sheer athleticism of the contestants and their versatility.  I learned dance formally for three years, when I was in school.  I remember the countless hours of practice that went into group dances,  for  school functions.  Dances, whose choreography was far less complicated than anything on SYTYCD.  My  favorites this season are Amy Yakima and Fik-Shun Stegall.   I will be watching next week to see whether America agrees with me.

Take it down a Notch Drama Queen

Dramatic Cat

LoL by: two_kittehs

Shoba Narayan, writing in the Mother Lode blog for the New York Times compares her daughters’ struggles with their grandparents over what to wear to Malala Yousafzai’s struggles. Yes, really. Being shot in the head by Taliban gunmen is exactly the same as putting up with tiresome suggestions of overprotective grandparents.

I don’t see what Ms Narayan is complaining about, who after all went back to India because she was panic stricken over the idea of her daughters growing up in the United States.

ETA:  On further research I discovered that the blogger is currently based in Bangalore.  Tom Friedman and David Brooks better polish their resumes since it seems that NYT has an endless supply of stupid on the tap from Bangalore.